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Lieberman likely to announce bid for presidency

Thursday, January 9, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joe Lieberman will announce his decision on a White House bid Monday morning at his old high school in Connecticut, and many Democrats say he has told them he plans to run.

The 60-year-old Connecticut Democrat said Wednesday he chose his hometown of Stamford to announce his 2004 intentions because: "It's the place where my dreams started."

Lieberman's announcement will be followed by one of his trademark visits to a local diner, an aide said. Leading Connecticut Democrats say Lieberman told them this past Monday at a 90-minute meeting in New Haven that he plans to run. Several said they were almost certain he will, based on his recent actions and comments.

But Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle offered a reminder that talking about running is not the same as formally announcing a decision.

The South Dakota Democrat said Tuesday he will not run, after saying as recently as Sunday night that he was leaning toward a presidential run. Daschle aides had already set an event to announce his candidacy and were planning trips to states with early contests.

Connecticut Democrats said Lieberman, during the meeting at a New Haven hotel, talked about the importance of his ties to Connecticut and shared with his audience some factors he has had to consider.

"The discussions were about the process, the decision, the challenges," said John Olsen, head of the state AFL-CIO.

Lieberman aides would not confirm accounts of the New Haven meeting.

'The senator's decision'

"This is the senator's decision to announce," spokesman Dan Gerstein said Wednesday.

Fellow Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina are seeking the Democratic nomination. Sens. Bob Graham of Florida and Joseph Biden of Delaware are considering a White House bid.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, the senior senator from Connecticut, has also considered a presidential run. Dodd said Wednesday as he left the Capitol: "I haven't decided yet, I'm still thinking about it."

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri are also in the race.

Al Gore, the 2000 Democratic nominee, probably would have dominated the field if he had run. But he said in mid-December that he was not entering the race, a decision that freed Lieberman from a pledge that he would not run against his former running mate.

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